The Schwalbe Marathon Plus is Schwalbe's most puncture resistant tour/e-bike tire. It also happens to be their best-selling tire, which tells us that people looking for these kind of tires value puncture resistance over a lower rolling resistance and weight. Ending up somewhere in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire isn't fun, but how much speed are you giving up with the Marathon Plus when compared to the regular Marathon?
When comparing all specifications of the Marathon and Marathon Plus side by side, both tires seem very similar. They both use a 67 TPI casing and the Schwalbe Endurance compound. The biggest difference is that the Plus version of the Marathon has an even thicker puncture layer when compared to the regular Marathon (3 mm). Schwalbe calls this 5 mm thick layer 'SmartGuard.' The 5 mm thick SmartGuard protection should result in a nearly flat-less tire at the cost of a higher rolling resistance and weight.
I've already tested the regular Marathon (read review) and was surprised by its very low rolling resistance. The Marathon can outperform tires that supposedly should have a much lower rolling resistance (on paper). Let's find out if the Plus version can surprise us as well.
|Supplied By||Supplied by Schwalbe|
|New or Used||New|
|Specified Weight||900 grams|
Size and Weight Measurements
|Size and Weight Measurements (Bike Wheel: 622-17C, Pressure: 60 psi / 4 bar)|
|Specified Weight||900 grams|
|Measured Weight||898 grams|
|Measured Width||34 mm|
|Measured Height||36 mm|
|Tread Depth||2.0 mm|
|Total Tire Thickness Center||9.0 mm|
|Total Tire Thickness Sidewall||1.60 mm|
The specified weight of the Marathon Plus is 900 grams; this is 170 grams more than the regular Marathon. The real measured weight of my sample of the Plus is 898 grams, which is pretty close. The Plus measures 34 mm wide and 36 mm high at 60 psi on a 17C rim. The regular and Plus Marathon both have almost the same size.
Tread depth is 2.0 mm; this is a bit less than the regular Marathon which has slightly more tread depth (2.3 mm). The really interesting measurements are the Total Tire Thickness Tread and Total Tire Thickness Sidewall measurements. As expected, the Plus has a higher thickness in the center of the tire, with a total thickness of 9.0 mm it's the thickest tire of all tires tested to date. The thickness of the sidewalls is very similar to the plain Marathon at 1.60 mm.
Rolling Resistance Test Results
|Rolling Resistance Test Results (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph / 8 m/s, Load: 42.5 kg / 417 N)|
|Inner Tube||Conti Tour 28 (170 gr butyl)|
|Rolling Resistance 90 psi / 6 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 75 psi / 5 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 60 psi / 4 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 45 psi / 3 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 30 psi / 2 Bar||
|Use the formula: RR (watts) = CRR * speed (m/s) * load (N) to calculate rolling resistance at a given speed and load|
As expected, rolling resistance of the Marathon Plus is higher than the plain Marathon. Depending on air pressure, you're giving up 4 - 6 watts of power per tire (20%). This isn't all that much given the 2 mm of extra puncture protection the Plus provides. I think it comes down to personal preference whether you like the lower rolling resistance or the higher puncture protection.
When we compare the Marathon tires to similar tires from different brands, the Schwalbe tires seem to be in another league when you take both puncture and rolling resistance into consideration. At least at the time of this writing, the other brands just can't compete.
Puncture Resistance Test Results
|Puncture Resistance Test Result (higher is better)|
|Puncture Resistance Tread||13|
|Puncture Resistance Sidewall||5|
|Puncture Factor Tread *||117|
|Puncture Factor Sidewall *||8|
|* Puncture Factor = Puncture Resistance * Total Tire Thickness
Puncture Factor provides a more realistic puncture resistance score for touring tires
Rolling resistance of the Marathon Plus is 20% higher. In an ideal world, puncture resistance should be 20% higher as well. Unfortunately, this isn't true, in the raw puncture test, which measures the force required to puncture the tire. Less force is needed to puncture the Marathon Plus (13 points) than the plain Marathon (14 points). The low raw puncture score indicates the material used in the Plus version is even softer and easier to puncture than the material utilized in the plain Marathon.
When we also take the thickness of the tire into consideration, the tables turn in favor of the Plus. With a Puncture Factor of 117 points, it outperforms the plain Marathon (102 points) by 15%. Both tires score nearly the same puncture scores in the sidewall test.
The Schwalbe Marathon Plus offers some extra puncture resistance over the Marathon (GreenGuard), at the cost of a 20% (4 - 6 watts) higher rolling resistance and a 170 grams higher weight per tire. I think that sums up the biggest differences in a concise manner. It comes down to personal preferences and usage conditions whether you like the Marathon or the Marathon Plus better.
You can't go wrong with the Marathon Plus or the Marathon (GreenGuard) (read review), both tires are best in class and easily outperform tires from other brands.
VERDICT: Highly Recommended